Title: The Ticket
Author: Debra Coleman Jeter
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Tray is a 14-year-old girl who sees herself as tall, skinny, bony and ugly, but her Gram sees her as exceptional. Tray’s mother has mental problems and spends most of her days in bed suffering from deep depression, so Tray is left to depend on her grandmother or Gram to raise her. Gram is always quoting from the Bible or some cliché that Tray feels never fits the moment until she stops to think about it and realizes Gram is almost always right. Gram lives with Tray, Tray’s mother and Trays’ father. Tray’s father works a lot and is not home very much. When he arrives home, he is usually very tired and irritable. He really doesn’t know Tray well and doesn’t show her much attention.
One evening her father receives a phone call telling him he has the winning lottery ticket. Her father can hardly believe it. Someone gave him the ticket as a gift, and he hasn’t thought about the ticket since receiving it. Now, with the winning ticket, how will their lives change? Tray imagines herself with new clothes. Tray likes to design clothes, but is embarrassed that she has to wear clothes her Gram sews her. However, with the ticket winner made public, many people begin to seek her father so he can give them money, including the man who gave her father the ticket. Tray thought that with all this money her life would be easier, but now she is not so sure. Once her mother finds out about the money, she is bright and cheery one day, then back to her usual day in bed with a headache the next. Will Tray ever survive her teenage years? Is Gram’s unconditional love enough to see her through this trying time?
If you want to revisit your teenage years, the ones full of angst and feeling different from everyone else, feeling unpopular, being a “spaz”, the rollercoaster emotions and physical changes, then this story will certainly ring a bell with you. I remember those years and this author captures those feelings perfectly. Tray reveals the cruelty we can inflict on the ones we love the most, the guilt and regret we then sometimes feel, the rarely telling those we love that we love them and many other emotions evoked by this heart-tugging story. I had some laugh out loud moments during the story too.
My rating is 4 stars.
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